Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beer and Honey marinated Pork roast stuffed with figs, olives, almonds and pine nuts

What you need:
900g pork back, de-boned
1 bottle of beer
1-1,5 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp olive oil
1onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
90g bread cubes
4 dried figs, chopped
8 green olives, pitted and chopped
25g flaked almonds, roasted
25g pine nuts, roasted
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 egg yolk
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C
Mix beer and honey in a bowl.
Place pork back in the bowl so that the meat is covered with the beer honey mix.
Marinate for 4 hours.
Heat up two Tbsp of olive oil in a pot and cook onions and garlic in it until soft.
Mix onions and garlic with bread cubes, figs, olives almonds, pine nuts, parsley, lime juice and egg yolk.
Use your hands for that!
Season with salt and pepper.

Spread half of the stuffing on flat inside part of the pork back.
Roll up the pork back starting with the thick part.
Use butcher´s string to wrap the pork roll.
Pour one Tbsp of olive oil in a roasting tray.
Place the meat in it and pour a bit (100ml) of the beer-honey mix over it.
Cook for 60 minutes.
Take the other half of the stuffing and form little balls/dumplings.
Place the balls/dumplings next to the pork roast in the tray and cook or another 15 minutes.
Take the roast out of the oven and let it rest for ten minutes.
Slice the pork roast and serve it with the balls/dumplings and the beer-honey sauce from the tray.

My pork roast turned out to be a bit too dry.
Unfortunately pork tempts to do that...
This is what you can do to prevent the meat from drying out:

  1. Take meat with enough fat. Fat makes meat tender. So don't shy away from fatty meat.You want your roast to taste good, right? Some fat (we are not talking about thick layers or chunks of fat, just some "fat leftovers"!) will help making the meat soft and juicy.
  2. Marinate!The longer the better!
  3. use a roasting tray with a lid. In Germany we have something called "Römertopf", a clay pot that you soak in water for ten minutes before using it. The water evaporates in the closed pot keeping the meat moist.
  4. slow-cook! 200°C is too hot in my opinion.Take your time and cook it slow using 80-120°C. That takes longer (probably 3 to 4 hours). But it's for the best, believe me!And it will prevent you from having dried out meat, like I had (I should have known better...). Also if you slow-cook you can use less fatty meat! whoa.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Salmon and Spinach Lasagna

I always wanted to cook a lasagne with fish and spinach.
I remember eating one years ago that was so good...
At least back then I thought it was.
Looking through the internet for recipes i found this for "Dill-Licious Salmon and Spinach Lasagne".

I liked it because they are using dill and white wine and two different kinds of cheese...
All of that works pretty well with spinach and fish.
Unfortunately I didn't have a proper sized casserole.
Mine was too big.
Therefore the lasagna turned out quite thin and a bit dry.
Even though I'm not sure if that was the only reason for the dryness.
After all I can say the lasagna was ok.
But a few things were still missing.

I want lasagna to be creamy and rich.
This one wasn't.
Also the flavors were quite bland.
it mainly tasted sour because of the lemon and the wine.
Therefore next time I might put cream and eggs in the creme fraiche sauce to give it more substance.
Or just make a bechamel adding dill, onions and nutmeg and white wine.
And I will replace the mozzarella or take at least a third and stronger cheese.

Oh, and I won't cook the salmon before.
Otherwise it gets too dry.
I'll just marinate it a bit, cut it into small pieces before adding it to the other ingrediences.
It'll cook in the oven anyway...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Donald Russell- a welcome visitor from Scotland

A few days ago Donald Russell from Scotland was
paying a visit to our little Berlin apartment.
That's one of the best beef you can get, 
especially in Europe/Germany. 
It is indeed a bit pricey (7.80Euros per 100g of filet). 
But you have to invest in good dry aged meat...
The filets came in a box and were dark red. 
Due to the dry aging they weren't very wet and 
bloody either.
We almost got no drippings out of it.
But believe me: that's always a very good sign. 
Who needs drippings when the meat is outstandingly 
flavourful and tender.
For filets they were surprisingly fatty and rich. 
A good sign, as well cause the fat made them even 
more tender and yummy.
precious looking filet

We took it out of the oven after 20-25 minutes...

...and it turned out to be perfectly medium rare!

Friday, February 18, 2011

It was Valentine's Day...

... and I decided to make Wil's favorite cake for this very special occasion:


But this time I threw in some chocolate chunks and decorated with hearts of pink sugar icing.
For never having celebrated Valentine's Day before it turned out pretty well, I guess.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Ok. After all this hearty and meaty posts I thought it was time for something sweet again:
Chocolate Chip Cookies!
German cookies are usually hard and rather crispy.
I always preferred the soft and chunky American cookie version and kept searching for the perfect recipe.
And here it is (approved by several Northern Americans)!

What you need:

240g all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
150g margarine (butter makes cookies crispy!)
115g white sugar
115g firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
300g dark chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Set aside.
In a second bowl, cream the margarine with white and brown sugar until smooth for about 2-3 minutes. 
Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly.
Stir in the chocolate chunks/chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking paper covered cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown.
Cool the cookies for a few minutes before removing them from the sheets.
Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Leek,cheese & ground beef soup

Usually I try to avoid cooking with things such as processed cheese.
But it's too good!
Next time I'll try to use proper cheese, though.
Such as Gruyere, camembert or gorgonzola...hmmm!
As long as it melts, it should be fine.
And maybe add some white wine or cidre to spice it up a little...

Until then, here is the classic recipe.

What you need:

500g ground beef
1 ltr beef broth
2 big leeks, washed and cut into rings
200g sour cream
200g cream
200g Velveeta, soft processed cheese (not the light version!)
pepper nutmeg, salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat up the vegetable oil in a big pot.
Then fry the ground beef in it until crumbly.
Pour in beef broth and let it boil.
Add leek and let everything boil for approx. 10 minutes.
Remove pot from heat.
Pour in sour cream, cream and Velveeta and stir until all is mixed well.
Season to taste with pepper, nutmeg and salt.
Slowly heat up the soup again.
Be careful not to have it boil again in order to prevent the cheese from clotting.

Serve hot on a cold winter night!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sexy Local Bakery

Right next to my house is a small mall.
And in that mall there is a bakery.
I never bought anything there.
But every time I pass this place I'm fascinated by their "Bread and Bun-Art".

I really have no words for this.
But I guess it's best to let the art speak for itself anyway...